Thwarting veterinary shortages and ensuring America’s animals have sufficient access to care is the goal of a recently announced academic-corporate partnership.
Appalachian State University (App State) and Banfield Pet Hospital are launching a four-year online degree program for licensed veterinary technicians (LVTs). The offering is designed to address market demand, especially in rural communities, for skilled veterinary professionals, the groups say.
The partnership comes on the heels of a Banfield study, which revealed an estimated 75 million pets in the U.S. may not have access to proper veterinary care by 2030 due, in part, to a shortage of animal health professionals.
“App State excels in developing visionary academic programs that address professional workforce shortages in rural communities and help advance industry standards,” adds App State’s chancellor, Sheri Everts.
“With graduation and licensure achievement rates that far exceed national averages, our university is uniquely positioned to develop and deliver a signature program that will help advance the profession, elevate the role of the LVT, and address the market demand for skilled, rural veterinary professionals.”
Much like human healthcare nurses, LVTs can administer patient vaccinations and check vital signs in partnership with a doctor.
“When veterinary professionals get to practice at the top of their license, hospitals get the best results: engaged clients and a unified team that delivers superior care,” says Daniel Aja, DVM, Banfield’s chief veterinary relations and transformation officer. “In support of our purpose—A Better World for Pets—we believe the profession needs to leverage all veterinary professionals to the best of their abilities to ensure pets can get the care they need.”
In 2020, there were more than 110,000 LVT jobs in the U.S., with a projected increase of nearly 20 percent in the next five years, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data. Industry reports project a gap in the supply of LVTs of more than 50,000 by 2029, Banfield adds.
“Banfield believes strongly in elevating and recognizing the role of LVTs as critical members of the veterinary team,” Dr. Aja says. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with App State and investing in this first-of-its-kind program that will benefit veterinary professionals, pets, and the broader industry as we continue to see the demand for pet care rise.”
The program is expected to launch in fall 2022.